2020... The Year That Was

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2020…. a year I had so many expectations for. It delivered in ways I didn’t imagine in my personal life and has also been one of the hardest years I’ve had in my business. I’m a big believer in finding the positives wherever you can but I think it’s equally important to accept the negatives and sit in the moments that are difficult in order to be able to appreciate the amazing things that life can bring. Because if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that life is unpredictable, and change is inevitable.

It was always written in the stars that this year would be bring a huge change for me personally. After finally falling pregnant with the third baby I had always wanted but never dared to dream too much about I felt a sense of calm that I’d never felt before. I didn’t worry about the birth, about the chaos that comes with bringing home a newborn or if my older two would adjust to the change. There was no doubt in my mind that this little person would only enrich our lives and after battling through three sleepless years with Will I knew that whatever this third babe threw at us we could handle.

Mila arrived at 4.28pm on 5 March 2020 right before the pandemic really hit Australia. Two weeks after she was born we were locked down and my husband began working from home. I know how utterly devastating this pandemic has been for so many people but for our little family at that particular moment, being told to stay home was just what we needed. Forced family time. No rushed mornings to drop the kids off and waking Mila to go pick them up. The kids spent days upon days playing outside, reading, doing board games and puzzles. Mila was this little bundle of perfection who slept and fed on demand and at a time when life should have been the most hectic it slowed right down. 2020 has been so many things to so many people and my word for 2020 was ‘Grateful’. Which may be ironic looking back at the devastation this year has bought but it also still rings true for me. I am most grateful for my beautiful, healthy baby girl. I am so incredibly grateful for a reconnected family and the Father-Daughter bond I see developing between Mila and her Dad because he is home.

I am grateful for so many things but it has also been HARD is so many ways. Mila slept like a baby until she turned four months old when she reminded me what sleep deprivation actually is. This also coincided with when I started back at work. I don’t think you can ever regret the time you spend soaking in that newborn bubble but all good things must come to an end. I jumped straight back into work at the same time Mila started her four month sleep regression. It was also a crazy time of growth for Adored Illustrations which meant more work. More work and less sleep. As part of growing the business I decided to create new product lines. More revenue means you have more money to spend on expanding your business. Which is fantastic if you can actually get those products and launch them. This is where the struggle has been the last few months. I have invested heavily in new products that have been delayed and delayed again. We released our first puzzle The Enchanting Puzzle almost a month after it was scheduled, and we missed a large chunk of the Christmas shopping season. Our new range of flash cards were meant to be released at the end of November. These will not be released until January now, again missing the biggest spending season of the year.

There has been great growth this year but it has come at an expense both financially and emotionally. I have had two children at home with me most days and trying to work in nap times and early in the morning and late at night – it has really taken a toll on me the last few months. Would I change what I do and the fact I’m home with my children to go back and do a job that I can leave at the office and come home and switch off from? Never. I am quite literally living my dream but it doesn’t come without hard work and near emotional breakdowns every now and then.

2020 – you have been a year of change. Of adjusting. Of slowing down. Of stress. Of happiness. Of love. It has been the last year I’ve had two babes at home and I still don’t think I’m ready for Will to go to school. I’m not ready to just have Mila at home. But at the same time I am ready for routine. I am ready to get back to scheduling work days, spending time away from Mila so that she adjusts to other people caring for her and I can enjoy some much needed ‘me’ time. Because that’s one thing that has been missing from my life in 2020. Routine. And it’s something that I crave. I need it and my business needs it.

2021 – I have big plans for you. New products to launch. A novel which I am determined to finish. A business to grow. A complete family to enjoy. But I will never forget the lessons of 2020. Adapt. Adjust. Slow Down. Nothing lasts forever and one day 2020 will be just a memory. But the lessons it has taught me and the time it has given me will never be taken for granted. And my word for 2021 – Enjoy. I simply want to enjoy every moment next year. I want to enjoy the family that it has taken 10 years to start and complete. I want to enjoy a business that I have spent months stressing over rather than appreciating. I want to enjoy the little moments, celebrate the big moments and appreciate the hard moments for what they teach us. Goodbye 2020. Hello, 2021.


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